Recap our live coverage of the November Meeting at Cheltenham on Friday as Paddy Brennan enjoyed a treble in the saddle.
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1545: A fantastic day for Paddy Brennan is rounded off in the perfect way at Coolanly wins well from the Pym, Brennan guiding Fergal O’Brien’s runner towards the outside and up the stands rail on straightening for home.
Sky Bet introduced the winner at 20/1 for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival in March.
RESULT – 3.35 Cheltenham
1st COOLANLY (7/2)
3rd Percy Veer
1535: The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is up next and it’s a good Grade Two. Pym is not the strongest market leader of the day and is 5/2 with Sky Bet currently. He’s got some of the best form and the most potential in the line-up but quick ground might be a minor concern. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s ridden as some thought he was held onto a bit too long last time out when beaten at Ascot.
1518: Job done for Josies Orders, who was clearly targeted at the race, given its conditions.
And in many ways it’s also job done for TigerRoll, who was a market drifter and ran accordingly, just looking like the run was needed.
The National winner ran on into fourth and his rider Keith Donoghue told Racing UK: “The spark is still there and he just struggled with the weight. I had a go three out but he couldn’t get there. I’d be happy off level weights against those in front of him next time out.”
RESULT – 3.00 Cheltenham
1st Josies Orders (2/1 favourite)
2nd Fact Of The Matter
1445: It’s the cross-country chase next but don’t go anywhere just yet… as it features the return of Tiger Roll, who has to lump a huge weight around having gone up to a mark of 159 for doing the Festival-Grand National double in the spring.
Josies Orders has become a bit of a stalwart around here and has a spin over hurdles under the belt, while the money is for Charlie Longsdon’s Midnight Shot who impressed with his jumping at Fakenham last month and makes his debut on this particular course today.
Sky Bet have gone three places on the race despite just the seven runners. Tiger Roll currently on the drift with Josies Orders a strong favourite – you can get the live market right here.
1432: Quite a remarkable ride from Mark Grant, who was all but down two out on Count Meribel, who stopped to nothing before somehow managing to get back up and win narrowly from the front-running Le Breuil.
White Moon crashed out at the last having come together with the winner, while Jenkins flew through from way off the pace to beat Mr Whipped to third.
RESULT – 2.25 Cheltenham
1st COUNT MERIBEL (4/1)
2nd Le Breuil
1424: Jenkins quite keen on his way to post and you’d expect him to be up with the pace too, but I’m with Count Meribel. Value Bet selection Jerrysback is easy enough to back, which would be a slight concern.
1420: Black Op won’t be out until the beginning of December after being a late non-runner at Exeter earlier in the week, according to George.
Second to Samcro in the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival, the son of Sandmason’s chasing debut remains eagerly awaited.
“There’s not many races for him,” said the trainer.
“At the beginning of December there’s one back at Exeter, there’s Bangor as well, but there’s not many races you can actually run him in as they’ve cut a lot of the beginners chases out.
“So it’s looking like the beginning of December, unfortunately.”
Fear not Tom, he who laughs last laughs loudest. Which isn’t always the case with novice chasers and experience, but you get my point.
1416: Next up it’s the Steel Plate And Sections, which is always strong and always an informative event with the future in mind.
Mr Whipped and White Moon are cracking prospects and could turn out to be Grade One chasers. That isn’t necessarily the case with Count Meribel but he is very fit and he jumped well at the head of affairs on his chasing debut at Carlisle. That was a handicap, but it wasn’t a bad one and I felt he idled on the run-in.
Count Meribel is definitely my idea of the value in the race.
1410: Get the impression Brennan enjoyed that. “I thought he was a certainty,” the jockey commented afterwards.
1400: Bun Doran bolts up under a confident Paddy Brennan who brings up a double for the day.
Never really off the bridle, Brennan allowed him to stride on coming around the final turn and it was all over even before a fantastic leap at the last.
If you backed Movie Legend with Sky Bet then it’s money back as a free bet, but he was getting lumps of weight off the winner and was comfortably put in his place.
A Hare Breath disappointed and Shanahan’s Turn has had plenty of chances now and doesn’t look up to this level.
So the Tom George bandwagon rolls on and he said to Racing UK: “It’s taken us a while to sort out exactly what trip he wants but good, good to soft ground is perfect for him.
“He went for an away day and showed up really well in his work with God’s Own so we were hoping for the best.”
RESULT – 1.50 Cheltenham
1st Bun Doran (9/4 favourite)
2nd Movie Legend
1346: The BetVictor Handicap Chase has only attracted seven runners this year but it’s the Sky Bet Money Back race (stakes refunded as a free bet if your pick finishes second) so there’s plenty of incentive to have a go.
I’m against the favourite Bun Doran as I fear he could have a bit of a soft centre and last year’s winner Doitforthevillage is lacking his usual comeback run.
A Hare Breath is definitely respected but will his jumping hold up? It is very hard to say. Which is why I’m a fan of Movie Legend, despite his drift in the market. He’s a sound jumper and he’s race fit.
1342: Sadly, reports from the track indicate that Jameson lost his life after the incident in today’s first race. Our thoughts are with trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and all the connections.
1336: Some more reaction from the track and Neil Mulholland on his winner, The Young Master: “My horses weren’t right last season. But they’re alright now.”
It’s the first time he’s won two in a row for four years, and stablemate My Brother ran a stormer in the next, too, running second under Noel Fehily.
It all bodes well for Kalondra’s run in the big race this weekend, the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday afternoon.
He’s very well handicapped, it looks as though he’ll get a very strong pace which will suit, and now it appears his yard are back firing, as well.
Luck is what he needs now. And after a few crunching falls already here at Prestbury Park today, connections won’t need such a reminder of what can happen in this thrills-and-spills sport following his own tumble at Galway earlier in the year.
1328: Bit of a blowout in the novices’ handicap hurdle with Fergal O’Brien’s Red Hot Filly winning at 33/1 under Paddy Brennan. My Brother’s effort mirrored his Fakenham run as he made a few mistakes before running on to be placed, while in behind Dostal Phil was an eyecatcher as he didn’t jump well at all but was still in there pitching two out.
Dream Du Grand Val travelled better than most and Jeremiah McGrath was taking a pull turning up but the ground did just look a bit lively for him and he’s one for the My Stable tracker in my view.
RESULT – 1.15 Cheltenham
1st RED HOT FILLY (33/1)
2nd My Brother
3rd Voodoo Doll
4th Guido Reni
1305: My Brother is definitely a market mover here and he’s around 7/1 from 14s when the market first opened. He stayed on after an early error at Fakenham and is better than that bare form, but this is a much strong race.
To firm up earlier thoughts, I’m with the top weight here for Nicky Henderson as I’m taking a chance on the French import Dream Du Grand Val being well treated.
Sky Bet are paying five places instead of four and you can place your bets right here.
1258: The winning rider has been speaking on Racing UK and said: “I don’t know if he’ll be right back to his best but he’s enjoying himself again now. It’s beautiful ground out there but when you win the ground is always great.”
Trainer Neil Mulholland said: “He’s gutsy and genuine and is in the form of his life. Thankfully my horses seems to be running well and it was a lovely ride from Sam.”
About his two in the next he added: “My Brother was unlucky at Fakenham last time and we hope he can improve on that. The Twisler is a nice horse too and the conditions will be fine.”
1252: Jameson is still receiving treatment out on the course but Sky Pirate up and about. Zac Baker and Patrick Mullins both safe and sound it seems too.
1250: Drama in behind but Sam Waley-Cohen and The Young Master, who were allowed a fairly easy lead in fairness, just kept pouring it on and ultimately drew right away to win well.
Sky Pirate and Jameson both looked dangerous after looming up two out but they both crashed out, the latter taking over the former, and it was left for Station Master to chase home the ready winner.
Outsider Walk In The Mill picked up the pieces from Bally Longford who jumped deplorably throughout.
RESULT – 12.40 Cheltenham
1st THE YOUNG MASTER (9/2)
2nd Station Master
3rd Walk In The Mill
1240: They’re at the post for the boys’ race and Station Master is the big mover. He’s now joint fav along with For Good Measure.
1215: Final call for free RUK for a month.
1200: Back to Cheltenham and I’ve got the bare bones of a placepot perm materialising in front of my eyes. Josies Orders and Mr Whipped are almost bankers but I’ll back up the latter with the aforementioned Count Meribel in the ‘Sections’.
First race is tough but Km Bailey’s Station Master looks a must under Jamie Codd and I’m drawn to the money for Jameson, who has stamina to prove but has the sort of attitude you want fighting for you up the Cheltenham hill.
Dream Du Grand Val is easy enough to back in the next but I’d be shocked and appalled if he’s not well treated from a mark of 125. He’d have loved a drop of rain but can mount a bold bid nevertheless. The other one I like in the handicap hurdle is Vocaliser at 50/1. He goes well fresh, loves quick ground and is well treated based on the improvement he made over fences last season.
We’ll row in with Value Bet and Movie Legend in the 1.50 and will need a few in the the last but Double Treasure is seriously solid as an in-form 140-rated hurdler who will like conditions. Darlac the other one I’m keen to have on side here under Richard Johnson.
Simple? If only it were.
1150: It’s shaping up to a be a belting weekend on both sides of the Irish Sea, with Sunday’s Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown featuring not only Samcro but also a certain Faugheen.
Not sure good good ground over two miles will suit either of them in truth so interesting to see how it plays out with Supasundae in there too.
1135: There’s another £50,000 up-for-grabs in today’s free-to-play ITV7 at Cheltenham and Newcastle and Dave Smith provides a guide to the races.
1122: Stop the clock! Coneygree declared… he’s actually been declared. To run at Cheltenham tomorrow. He’s currently top weight in the BetVictor.com Handicap (1.50). Honestly thought they’d look to call it something different after the confusion over Cloudy Dream being declared for this instead of the BetVictor Gold Cup last year.
He’s alongside Rock The Kasbah, Vicente and Singlefarmpayment with 16 declared for the big staying race. The Young Master has also been declared but he’s in today so presumably that’s a precaution.
1120: It’s unlike Simon Holt to weigh in with four bets on a day like this so he’s clearly keen. Jacob’s ride A Hare Breath features among his selections, as does Count Meribel who I’ve already touched upon and really like the look of on today’s conditions under a positive ride.
Click on the image below for Simon’s full preview.
1100: I’m leaning on Linfoot again but he’s produced today’s Talking Points which focuses on three of today’s potential stars, including National hero Tiger Roll.
1055: I’m jumping the gun a bit here but with more than half an eye on tomorrow’s card, it’s interesting to hear Tom Scudamore talk about David Pipe’s chances in Saturday’s BetVictor Gold Cup.
Scu feels “the class is there” with King’s Socks and I’d be inclined to agree. He’s got to be on the shortlist despite fluffing his lines at the big spring festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree.
1045: On the very subject of White Moon, he’s among the best-backed horses with Sky Bet today and has been cut to 100/30 from an opening 5/1. Other movers and shakers at Prestbury Park are…
13:15 – Rockpoint 12/1 from 20/1
13:50 – Bun Doran 5/2 from 7/2
14:25 – White Moon 10/3 from 5/1
15:00 – Josies Orders 2/1 from 5/2
Personally, I’m against Bun Doran. Not sure what it is but I’m not entirely convinced he’s got the minerals for a fight up the Cheltenham hill.
But I get the move for Rockpoint. There have been signs that the Tizzard yard is about to explode with a huge amount of winners and this horse sent off 3/1 favourite on his last run in a handicap when his rating was identical to that of today.
He was beaten at 2/5 on his comeback but it was entitled to be needed. He looks a good placepot horse, acknowledging to the fact that he’s yet to actually win a race from eight career starts.
1020: Oli Bell Yankee time and he’s backing the dashing grey White Moon to make a winning start over fences in the Steel Plate And Sections.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Colin Tizzard’s yard the past two seasons in the run-up to the Festival and this horse has definitely been well regarded from the outset. It’s amazing we’ve only seen him three times in public but that Exeter victory 12 months ago marked him down as a really nice sort.
Personally, I’ve sticking with experience in the race today and backing Count Meribel to give the weight away. He was really good at Carlisle under a big weight and looks up to this sort of level, while he’s presumably going to set out and make the running which should put him in the box seat tactically.
1005: If you’re feeling trendy – and I don’t mean the no-socks, step haircut type of trendy – then we’ve got the piece for you.
It’s the big-race trends for the opening amateur handicap chase AKA the Markel Insurance Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase, and it’s due off at 12.40.
Looks a good race this too, with The Young Master of definite interest under Sam Waley-Cohen. He’s a class horse on his day and looked to idle on the run-in when winning on his comeback. He beat some rusty looking chasers there but it did look like he did it with a bit in hand.
For Good Measure is the buzz horse and has to be respected on the back of his pleasing seasonal reappearance here. Stamina is the slight doubt with him but we know Derek O’Connor is a master at creeping into races and he’ll be ridden patiently. Spoiler Alert: The trends point to him.
0955: A welcome boost now and some fresh, exclusive content. It’s Daryl Jacob on his two rides this afternoon. And they’re both quite interesting. We know A Hare Breath is fairly treated, we know he handles the course and we know he likes good ground. Click on the image below for some good snippets on his he’s been working of late.
Jacob also gives his views on novice chaser Le Breuil, also trained by Ben Pauling.
0945: More from the man with the shiny head as Ben Linfoot joins Mike Vince trackside to preview the day’s racing, in audio form… click on the image below to feast your ears on their wares.
0935: If you hadn’t already noticed, it’s been a dry year. And the rain is still resisting to show itself so we’ve got relatively quick ground for the start of the November Meeting, which has been a terrible, muddy mess in years gone by.
The going at Cheltenham this morning is as follows: Good, Good to Soft in places. Cross-country course – Good, Good to Firm in places (GoingStick 6.8, Cross-country 7.8).
0930: Morning! It’s the November Meeting at Cheltenham and we’ll be building up to the start of the action through the morning with a few thoughts on the feature races, tips, videos and previews, plus a smattering of colour from the course as Ben Linfoot soaks up the sights and sounds from Prestbury Park.
Let’s get this Cheltenham party started with a short clip of the great man making a case for his Value Bet selection, Jerrysback, who is the racing desk’s Nap of the day.
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